VFW Joins in Houston National Cemetery Censorship Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 1, 2011 – The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization is appalled over allegations of religious censorship at one of the nation’s national cemeteries, calling it a case of “bureaucracy running amok.” 

“This is a point in case of bureaucracy…or rather, a classic example of a bureaucrat running amok.  In spite of VA policy, the cemetery director is making up her own rules and has imposed hurtful, unilateral restrictions of her own choosing,” said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.   

Texas-based Liberty Institute has filed suit on behalf of the VFW, American Legion, and The National Memorial Ladies over allegations of religious hostility and unlawful censorship by the VA and its director of the Houston National Cemetery.  "They've told the VFW and the American Legion that they cannot have prayer during the burial services of our veterans, unless the family requests it in writing and submits the prayer for pre-approval," said Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer.

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VFW Washington Weekly – May 13, 2011

In This Issue:
1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases

2. New Vet Employment-Transition Bill
3. House Hearings
4. Korean War MIA Identified

1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases: The House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act this week.  The $533 billion defense bill (H.R. 1540) provides a 1.6-percent military pay increase, reduces the SBP-DIC offset for survivors, and would increase TRICARE fees for working-age military retirees.  Beginning with FY 2013, the committee voted to link future TRICARE increases to annual cost-of-living-adjustments, or COLAs, which has been zero for military retirees for the past two years.  The committee did not vote to prohibit a fee increase for FY 2012, which now opens the door for DOD to raise TRICARE fees by 13 percent this fall.  The VFW will continue to oppose all TRICARE fee increases.  Military retirees paid for their healthcare through long and faithful service; for their children being uprooted repeatedly from school; for their spouses not being able to have full careers; for their homes accumulating no equity; and for some, for not being fully marketable because they served so many years in uniform.  The House, then the Senate, have to agree on the bill before it goes to the president for his signature.  The VFW urges you to redouble your efforts and get your representatives to reject the TRICARE increase when the bill comes up for a floor vote, and to contact your senators to reject the proposal if it makes it through the House.  To take action against the proposed TRICARE increase, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=46437541.

2. New Vet Employment/Transition Bill: Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced VFW-supported legislation to aggressively improve the unemployment rate among veterans.  S.951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, would require the Departments of Defense, VA and Labor to work together to improve the Transition Assistance Program and to identify barriers in translating military jobs into civilian employment.  The bill hopes to offer unique job skills training, create new direct federal hiring authority, and improve veteran mentorship programs in the private sector.  According to Labor Department statistics, about 27 percent of veterans ages 20-24 are currently unemployed.  Read the committee press release at http://veterans.senate.gov/press-releases.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=1fc27742-327f-437d-9544-04058da51d3d.

3. House Hearings: The House VA Committee cleared several VFW-supported bills, which now move to the House floor for a vote.  They include:
*   HR 1383, Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, to grandfather veterans attending private schools who were adversely affected by the changes made in the GI Bill last Congress.  It also increases the cap to $27,000 from $17,500 for students already enrolled in private schools under Chapter 33.
*     HR 1657, legislation that would improve VA's enforcement of service-disabled, veteran-owned small business contracting.

* HR 1441, a bill to ban reserving burial and interment locations at Arlington National Cemetery, and clears the way for a memorial on Chaplains Hill to honor Jewish chaplains who died defending our country.
*   HR 1407, The Veterans Cost of Living Adjustment Act of 2011, would provide a cost-of-living increase to veterans' disability compensation rates and other benefits.  It would also provide a five-year extension to VA adaptive grants program for severely wounded veterans residing in a family member's home.
For more information visit the committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/.

4. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced identification of remains belonging to Army Cpl. Primo C. Carnabuci, of Old Saybrook, Conn.  On Nov. 1, 1950, Carnabuci's unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was forced to conduct a fighting withdrawal from their position along the Kuryong River, near Unsan, North Korea.  He was among almost 600 men to be reported missing from the battle.  Read more at http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14484

Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is unique because all of our members have served overseas in a combat zone. Our nation is in debt to all of those who served, and we understand that returning home and reintegrating into society can cause stress in many aspects of life. Because of this, VFW is participating in a campaign with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to increase awareness of the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1). 

The campaign revolves around the confidential Veterans Crisis Line (formerly the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline), establishing a unique identity designed to lower the threshold for Veterans and their families to make that critical call for help. 

The line, available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, has answered more than 390,000 calls and has made more than 13,000 life-saving rescues since its launch. 

The campaign is a national outreach effort to increase awareness and use of the confidential Veterans Crisis Line and online chat service, support and promote broader VA suicide prevention efforts, and promote help-seeking behaviors among Veterans.

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BUFFALO WILD WINGS to Partner with Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation

Visit your local participating restaurant and support the VFW Foundation.

Participating Buffalo Wild Wings® locations are showing their support of the troops by partnering with the VFW Foundation to support the Return the Favor™ campaign. Participating restaurants will donate 10 percent of guest’s food purchase when the guest shows their military ID card, VFW membership card or Return the Favor card. To find participating restaurants or to print a Return the Favor card, visit http://www.returnthefavor.org/. The program will run from May 16 through June 12.

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VFW Names 2011 WebAward Winners

The VFW Communications Department has selected the winners of the 2011 VFW WebAward Competition.

This year nearly 60 entries were received. Judging was based on navigation, load time, design and overall content. Entries were divided into two separate categories: VFW Departments and VFW Posts/Districts.

The first-place winner in the Department category is the Department of Wisconsin. Second place has been awarded to the Department of Pacific Areas.

In the Post/District category, Post 5702 has been named this year’s first-place winner, with Post 5727 being awarded second place.

This year’s contest proved especially difficult to judge due to the number of quality websites submitted by our Posts, Departments and Districts.

Everyone who submitted an entry deserves praise for their hard work and creativity. Please continue to keep up the good work! We look forward to next year’s competition.

(via VFW.org)

VFW Washington Weekly – April 15, 2011

In This Issue:
1. VFW Supports New White House Initiative
2. VFW Supports Stronger Funeral Protest Restrictions
3. Senate Talks Jobs
4. Congress on Recess
5. New SMMC Selected
6. Korean War MIA Identified
7. WWII MIA Identified
 
1. VFW Supports New White House Initiative: VFW National Commander Richard Eubank is calling on VFW and Auxiliary membership to redouble their outreach efforts in response to the "Joining Forces"initiative announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. "Our military and their families have been fighting for almost a decade in a war that has had virtually zero impact on the rest of country," said Eubank. "What the first and second ladies are asking is for America to do more to support the troops and their families by getting actively involved through employment, education and wellness. This is an initiative the VFW can fully embrace because it aligns with our motto to 'Honor the dead by helping the living.'" Read more at http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/VFW-TO–JOIN-FORCES–WITH-WHITE-HOUSE-INITIATIVE/.

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District 6 VOD and Patriots Pen Banquet

The District 6 VOD Baquet was held on March 27th at the Alpine Club in Manchester NH.  Here are Photos from the event.  Photos taken by Andrew Seremeth.

Event started with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Master of Ceremonies

The table for the winners was graced by a beautiful Patriotic Place setting.

Ladies Auxiliary Soloist led the attendees in the National Anthem

The banquet was well attended.

The Department Commander, State Senior Vice Commander, and Past Department Commander also attended 

Here is the winners table

The winners had an opportunity to have the photos taken with family members.

Here is 1st Place Voice of Democracy winner Sonia Iosim and family member.

Here is 2nd Place Voice of Democracy Winner Alexandra Conway and family members.

Here is 4th Place Voice of Democracy Winner Halley Moll and Family members.

Here is 4th Place Voice of Democracy Winner Jim Delahunty and family members.

Here is Patriot’s Pen 1st Place Winner Ciara Mann and Family Members.

Here is the Voice of Demoracy trophy which will be displayed at 1st Place winner Sonia Iosim high school for a year.

1st Place Winner Sonia Iosim receives here award from: District Commander Lewis Chipola, Post 8214 Ladies Auxiliary President Lorranie Sawyer, District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frehette

District 6 2nd Place Vooice of Democracy Winner Alexandra Conway District 6 Commander Lewis Chipola and District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechette

District 6 3rd Place Voice of Democracy Winner Rachel Bevill, Disrict 6 Commander Lewis Chipola, District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechette and Post 8641 Commander Max Quayle

District 6 4th Place winner Halley Moll, District 6 Commander Lewis Chipola, District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechette and Post 8401 Commander John Koehler

4th Place Voice of Democracy Winner Jim Delahunty District 6 Commander Lewis Chipola Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechette and Post 8401 Commander John Koehler

District 6 1st Place Patriot’s Pen Winner Ciara Mann, District 6 Commander Lewis Chipola, District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechette

District 6 Teacher of the Year award winner Patricia Lamontage, District 6 Commander Lewis Chipola, District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechett and Department of New Hampshire Commander Dave Ouellette representing the Pelham Post 10722

Citizen in Education Award Winner Selma Hoff, District 6 Commander Lewis Chipola, District 6 Ladies Auxiliary President Evelyn Frechette

District 6 1st Place VOD Winner Sonia Iosim reads her beautiful and meaning full essay.

District 6 Patriot’s Pen 1st Place Winner Ciana Mann reads here touching essay.

VFW Washington Weekly – March 18, 2011

In This Issue:
1. Retroactive Stop-Loss Payments End Today
2. Military Tricare Hearing
3. VBA Budget Hearing
4. Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day


4. Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans:
The U.S. Senate declared March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,” agreeing unanimously to a resolution introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  On March 30, 1973, U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.  The Senate is encouraging everyone this March 30 to recognize Vietnam veterans for their service and sacrifice.  For the senator’s remarks, go to http://www.veterans.senate.gov/rankingmember/ranking-press-releases.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=5406b369-9d62-4ce8-9b33-217abc5ed373.

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